Wednesday, 18 March 2015

George Osborne supports me

“The Internet of Things!” crowed the Chancellor. “We’ll invest in what is known as the Internet of Things. So should someone have two kitchens, they will be able to control both fridges from the same mobile phone.”

Uproarious laughter filled the House.

“Why is that funny?” I asked. It seemed strange. Nobody would laugh like that if I tried to control two hosepipes with the same phone.

Ed Milliband has two kitchens,” said my friend Chris, who has spent the last few weeks reading about politics. “He was pictured in the smaller one, and someone noticed it didn’t have a toaster. It’s all over the papers.”

Still, I wasn’t sure why the Chancellor is suddenly talking about the Internet of Things. Quite often you read about a concept for a fridge that knows when you’re running out of something and adds it to your Ocado basket. It’s never been produced, because such a fridge would have to be able to identify a carrot, figure out if the carrot is limp or squishy, and predict how many carrots you might fancy eating in the next week. All of this is impossible.

Also, he wants to “control” Ed Miliband's fridges from his phone. Who wants to control a fridge? It needs no control. It keeps food between 3 and 4 degrees celcius. The last thing I want is Russian hackers breaking into my fridge, raising it to 6 degrees and giving me listeria.

Luckily, Robert Peston had an explanation.

The budget document itself gave the confusing detail. The government were giving “£40 million for demonstrator programmes, business incubator space and a research hub to develop applications for Internet of Things technologies in healthcare and social care, and Smart Cities.”

Does a hosepipe count as a smart city? My friend Jo, who is an expert on healthcare and social care, thinks so. “It's definitely a smart city,” she blurted. “This is amazing news. You'll get £35 million.”

She added that if I told George Osborne I was connecting a butler to the internet, I would get £39 million.

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